Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Mayor plays dumb on Whittaker's PR stunt

A still from the ad promoting the Whittaker's PR stunt.
A still from the ad promoting the Whittaker's PR stunt.

A publicity stunt that involved a van crashing into Paeroa's giant L&P bottle angered the local council's chief executive - despite his mayor apparently being in on it.

Locals woke this morning to find a white van had apparently crashed into the famous 7 metre concrete tower after ploughing through a council garden.

A Paeroa police spokeswoman said the crash was a promotional stunt and Hauraki District Council knew all about it.

Council chief executive Langley Cavers returned to work this morning after time off and said he was as shocked as other locals by the collision.

He wanted the company that owned the van to pay for the damage.

However, the Waikato Times reported that Mayor John Tregidga knew about the promotion and had been told by the company behind it to "play dumb".

The company responsible for the fake crash was Whittaker's, named most trusted in a Reader's Digest survey last year.

The company described the event as a "good-natured" product launch.

It said everything had been "meticulously planned", "no harm at all has been inflicted on the iconic L&P bottle" and "guaranteed" the gardens would be returned to their "original state".

Watch the Whittaker's ad here.


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